Asian Culture and Arts - 2005-2006




Winter Quarter Activities - Week Six



Lu Xun (1881-1936) was probably the most important literary figure in early 20th century China. Raised in classical Chinese education, he witnessed bitterly, as a young adult, China's inability to combat the outside, international world. He became a harsh critic of traditional Chinese values and held many “Chinese characteristics” in deep contempt. Coming from a declining gentry family, he carried strong humanitarian sentiments toward the suffering masses of China, which only further his sense of self-loathing at his own habitual inertia and apathy as a thinking intellectual. Lu Xun aspired after a new China, in which social justice and equality would replace antiquated, and hence rotten, practices of feudal China. His leftist leanings were largely borrowed and promoted by Chinese Communists to justify their revolutionary causes. However, Lu Xun, although leaning toward Communism, did not live long enough to see the establishment of Communist China in 1949, nor did he live long enough to witness the nationwide catastrophe and massive deaths which ensued in 50s through a series of political movements. So, he never met Fugui, a downtrodden Chinese peasant whose life has spanned across the “Old” and “New” China, who has been through so much that he now carries no more desire in life, no more thinking in mind, than the simple purpose: to live. I am convinced that if Lu Xun had lived long enough to meet Fugui, he would definitely have written a story about him-with a different political perspective perhaps.

For this writing assignment of 2-3 pages, please create a dialogue between these two men--the idealistic and iconoclastic Lu Xun and the crude and impassive Fugui (or however you evaluate these two personalities). Put them in one setting where they can have a conversation, about something that matters to both of them, despite their differences. The time and place could be made up in any imaginary way, but these two characters have to remain themselves, two unique Chinese personalities from their respective time periods and political environments. I just have one request: please don't make a comic scene out of this assignment. You may share some of the dialogues in seminar of week 6. The official deadline is Thursday, February 16 to your seminar faculty.

Reading for this week:

To Live

Tuesday, February 14

10-12: Com 110 (Roy), Com 341 (Williams), Com 323 (Tsutsumi) and Com 210 (Jang)

Workshops on language and arts. Note that Setsuko's workshop begins at 11 am.

1-4: Com 107 - Indonesia (Williams)

Wednesday, February 15

10-12: Com 310 (Tsutsumi), Com 320 (Roy), Com 323 (Jang), Com 338 (Williams)

Morning seminars will be on themes introduced by the readings; do not forget to bring copies of the week's reading.

1-4: rehearsals, films, and independent practice on your own.

NOTE: those students in the workshop of Setsuko Tsutsumi should come to Seminar II, D3109 for weekly films on Wednesday afternoons.

Thursday, February 16

10-12: Com 110 (Roy), Com 341 (Williams), Com 323 (Tsutsumi) and Com 210 (Jang)

Workshops on language and arts

1-4: Lecture Hall 3 - Indonesia (Williams)

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